The construction sector has traditionally been a male-dominated field, but the number of women entering this industry has steadily increased in recent years. As the sector expands, more women must be permitted and encouraged to participate and contribute to its success. In this article, we’ll look at why the construction industry needs more women, the obstacles women experience when entering the field, tactics for promoting female participation, success stories of women making waves in the sector, and a call to action for gender diversity in construction.

Why Do Women Need to Work in the Construction Industry?

The construction industry is experiencing a skilled worker shortage, and recruiting more women can assist to fill this void. There simply aren’t enough workers so increasing participation among previously excluded groups is essential. Women contribute unique views and problem-solving abilities to the workplace, which can boost productivity and innovation. Furthermore, more women in construction can contribute to a more inclusive and varied working atmosphere. Gender diversity in the workplace has been shown in studies to boost problem-solving, creativity, and production. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently noted that with so many unfilled jobs in construction, getting more women into the industry is not social policy – it’s a commercial imperative.

Women in the Construction Industry Face Difficulties

Despite the fact that more women are entering the construction sector, they encounter a number of obstacles, including:

  1. Bias and Discrimination: In the sector, women continue to endure bias and discrimination, especially where things like pay and upward mobility are concerned.
  2. Women frequently struggle to locate mentors and role models in the profession who can assist them in navigating the hurdles they face.
  3. Physical Requirements: The construction sector is physically demanding, so women need to be on the lookout for things like pregnancy protection which employers should but do not always provide in adaqaute ways.
  4. Workplace Culture: Male-dominated culture can make women feel alone or ostracized.

Skillit’s own Rachael Becker will be speaking about these topics at the Construction Industry Education Foundation’s 2023 Women in Construction Fall Conference in Sacramento, CA on October 5, 2023.

How Can the Construction Industry Help Women?

Companies and groups can take numerous initiatives to support the growing number of women entering the construction sector, including:

  1. Addressing Bias and Discrimination: Businesses can take actions to address bias and discrimination in the workplace, such as guaranteeing equitable compensation and advancement opportunities.
  2. Mentorship: Companies can also offer mentorship and coaching programs to assist women in navigating the hurdles they confront and advancing their careers in the field.
  3. Offering Flexible Work Arrangements: Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible schedules, can also assist women in balancing their professional and personal life. Undoubtedly, these arrangements can help men as well, and are by no means exclusive to women. What’s more, the goal should be equality.
  4. Companies can also encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace by fostering a culture that welcomes and supports women in the sector. One of the ways they can do this is by creating a safe space to air and identify grievances, in part by supporting trusted , diverse leadership.

Increased Female Participation Strategies

Employers can take a number of actions to attract and retain more women in the construction industry. One important method is to encourage gender diversity in the working culture with the ultimate goal of equality, not special treatment. This can include fostering a welcoming environment that embraces diversity and is free of gender bias. Mentorship and training programs can also be useful in assisting women in developing skills and confidence, as well as navigating the hurdles that they may experience in their employment. Offering flexible work arrangements, such as job sharing or part-time work, can benefit women with caregiving duties or other commitments. Finally, implementing safety measures that especially target the requirements of women, such as providing suitable PPE and constructing facilities that are accessible to women, can assist to make the workplace safer and more welcome for women.

Mortenson for example, a top ENR contractor, implements many of these recommendations and offers highlights from its annual women in construction event on its website.

Women Making a Difference in Construction

Regardless of the obstacles they confront, women have made important contributions to the construction business. Women are breaking down boundaries and making their impact in this sector, from engineers and architects to project managers and tradeswomen. Marjorie Perry, CEO of MZM Construction & Management Company, for example, has been named one of the top 25 female CEOs in New Jersey. Dr. Judith Rodin, the first woman to run an Ivy League university and past president of the Rockefeller Foundation, started her career as a construction worker. These success stories can serve as motivation for other women contemplating a career in construction.

The construction business is evolving, and an increasing number of women are entering this historically male-dominated area. Equality won’t come easy, and we all need to work for it. While women continue to confront problems in the sector, such as bias and discrimination, there are also chances for women to make a difference and flourish. We can establish a more vibrant and successful construction sector that benefits everyone if we solve these difficulties and promote diversity and inclusion in the business.

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